WEDI’s vision is that all residents of Western New York can succeed and thrive in a culturally inclusive community.
WEDI strengthens communities through a continuum of educational and financial resources, removing systemic barriers to economic equity for all Western New Yorkers.
WHAT WE DO
WEDI’s dual focus areas of Education and Economic Development work in tandem to tackle systemic inequities that affect Buffalo’s underserved residents, many of whom are people of color. By supporting youth to succeed in school and powering entrepreneurs to launch, sustain, and grow small businesses, WEDI is helping to create a more equitable Buffalo.
WEDI's Education focus area supports English Language Learners (ELLs) to achieve literacy through four programs: ENERGY (elementary-aged students), FLY (middle schoolers), Launch (high schoolers), and Peer Support Groups. WEDI's
Economic Development focus area provides multi-faceted support to aspiring and early career entrepreneurs through two programs: Microlending and the West Side Bazaar (a small business incubator and community gathering space).
WEDI's programs and services are available to underserved residents of Western New York including elementary and middle school-aged ELLs in the 14213 zip code (ENERGY and FLY) and students at Lafayette International Community High School (Launch). Our ED programs are available to economically-disadvantaged adults earning 80% or less of the AMI (Area Median Income).
WEDI (the Westminster Economic Development Initiative) was founded in 2006 by members of the Westminster Presbyterian Church to improve the quality of life for underserved residents of Buffalo’s West Side, which was increasingly populated by immigrants and refugees from Southeast Asia and the Middle East. The organization’s initial focus on supporting elementary-aged children to achieve literacy eventually expanded to include grades 1-11 with additional programming focused on soft skills/social-emotional intelligence, enrichment activities, STEM, financial literacy, college preparation, and workforce/career development. In 2012, WEDI added a second focus area, Economic Development, to support underserved entrepreneurs to launch and sustain small businesses. In doing so, WEDI expanded its geographical reach to Buffalo’s East Side, which has a predominantly Black population. Today, WEDI runs six programs including the West Side Bazaar, a small business incubator offering delicious food and unique products from a diverse group of cultures and ethnicities.